NHS hospitals told to take drastic measures amid winter crisis


The NHS is reeling under what doctors’ leaders and hospital chiefs say is the most intense strain it has faced in decades as a result of flu, bad weather and more patients suffering breathing problems. Hospitals’ inability to keep up with the demand for care on Tuesday night prompted NHS England to tell them to take unprecedented measures to try and stabilise the service.

They included cancelling outpatient appointments and day case surgery, extending an existing ban on non-urgent surgery until the end of the month and deploying consultants in A&E units to assess if patients really are a medical emergency. Amid growing evidence of chaos as the NHS’s winter crisis bites, hospitals are being forced to create makeshift wards for patients, growing numbers are declaring a black alert – an official admission that they cannot cope – and patients are waiting as long as 12 hours for A&E care.(theguardian)…[+]